How COVID-19 Put Brand Loyalty To The Test

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Humans are inherently creatures of habit. While this applies to everyday rituals such as brushing our teeth or scrolling through our smartphones, it also extends to our wallets. Familiar brands take precedence, despite often being surrounded by competitors with similar products. This all-too-relatable impulse to “stick to what you know” is not only a testament to successful marketing campaigns but taps into our subconscious desires as well.

The importance of customer loyalty has become even more profound during COVID times. While some businesses have thrived, many others have suffered through periods of lost revenues, uncertain futures and an inability to accomplish critical tasks because of restrictions.

An even greater shift to online shopping — commonly referred to as e-commerce — was both inevitable and predictable. Still, for many, this meant changing steadfast habits. The pandemic, according to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company in September of last year, caused 73% of American’s to try new shopping habits.

The main incentives for consumers to start shopping around, according to McKinsey, was value, quality, and purpose.

With this in mind, businesses have had to be flexible in their approaches, especially when it comes to consumer and employee safety, and have had to work to keep from losing longtime clientele who may have developed a wandering eye while on the lookout for COVID-friendly options.

One example of a company which not only retained, but grew during COVID, is Allegiance Flag Supply, an e-commerce company based out of South Carolina, that, according to a December interview with the New York Times, experienced a 4,000% growth in sales during 2020.

“I think it was because people were spending more time at home and taking care of their home,” Katie Lyon, one of the company’s founders, told the New York Times. “That mixed with a huge American pride, that we’re all in this together, we have a responsibility to keep each other safe, as Americans.”

In an interview with business.com, Drew Donaldson, founder and growth strategist at Grohaus, listed successful sales, marketing, and product techniques as the three essentials for a business to retain its customer base.

“All three groups should always be involved in this process, as they will each need to adapt their operations to better optimize customer engagement,” Donaldson told business.com. “Is marketing addressing pain points? Is the sales team able to demonstrate the value? Is the product solving the client’s problem? Knowing and tracking those metrics are critical to optimizing your business to retain customers.”

Another tip, as featured in BOSS Magazine, is for brands to use promotional products to increase recognition and awareness. This could include giving out apparel that shows off a company logo, or products, such as pens and notepads, that can be used every day.

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